A poll of 1000 employees who will be attending the London Video Games Conference has named the iPhone far and away the most important and influential gaming device. What's not clear is whether this means the most influential device "right now" or "ever," which becomes pretty clear when you look at the overall poll results.
According to the poll:
Top five people to have shaped video games (First figures are percentage of overall vote; second are percentage of top five votes)
· Steve Jobs 26% 46%
· Gabe Newell (co-founder and managing director of Valve) 16% 29%
· Shigeru Miyamoto (developer of Mario, Donkey Kong, Zelda) 7% 12%
· Tim Berners-Lee (inventor of the world wide web) 4% 8%
· Mark Zuckerberg (founder of Facebook) 3% 5%
Top five products to have shaped video games
· Apple's iPhone 17% 53%
· Nintendo Wii console 7% 22%
· Xbox Live 3% 9%
· The original PlayStation console 3% 9%
· Steam (digital distribution) 2% 7%
While this reporter would normally not post about "Top X" polls, this one is interesting for a few reasons: First, the top products are represtented (with Steam being the exception) in order of recency, suggesting that many were thinking about what is most influential "right now" (iPhone, Wii) as opposed to "ever" (the PlayStation...or, Atari, the NES, the control pad, the arcade machine, etc.), or that this represents a shining example of people using the availability heuristic. Further discussion of this point would turn into me editorializing - which is exactly what I don't like about "Top X" polls - so I'll stop there.
What is most interesting about this poll is that it lays bare the tremendous mindshare that Apple has in the video game industry right now. Steve Jobs beats out Gabe Newell and Shigeru Miyamoto, and the iPhone beats out the Wii, the PlayStation, XBL, and Steam. In full statistics-nerd disclosure I should add the caveats that this is UK data only, and that the Conference's press release does not disclose the text of the questions posed to its attendees (which might address the "right now" or "ever" point made above). But it's one more piece of evidence demonstrating how important Apple has become to an industry it wasn't a part of just a few short years ago.